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Proposed projects to improve healthcare infrastructure

Projects proposed under the National Development Plan include the construction of a new national reference laboratory block, the Mengkubau Health Centre and the Bandar Seri Begawan Health Centre, which will also house the National Blood Centre.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said this during the Muzakarah session with Legislative Council (LegCo) members at the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Al-’Afiah Hall yesterday.

He added that the new health centres will also cover various services such as basic care service, treatment areas, emergency and observation, maternal and child health, phlebotomy and pharmacy.

“The proposal to upgrade Suri Seri Begawan Hospital in Kuala Belait with a new surgery block and rehabilitation centre for adults and children aims to improve the laboratory services capabilities, not only for domestic use, but also to support the development of industries such as food industry, especially for export and food security,” the minister said.

“It also aims to improve the scope of analysis and reduce dependency on analytical services abroad, directly strengthening the country’s preparedness to face emergencies such as pandemics.”

He added that the MoH is aware of the needs of the population for health services.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar. PHOTO: JAMES KON
Legislative Council members and officials from the Ministry of Health and Department of Psychiatric Services in a group photo. PHOTO: JAMES KON

“With the new health centres, the ratio of doctors to the population for catchment areas will be balanced.

“For example, the ratio of doctors to the population for the Muara Heath Centre is currently at 1:9,648 and will be reduced to 1:4,642, while the Berakas Health Centre can be reduced from 1:5,665 to 1:4,526 with the new Mengkubau Health Centre.

“The Mengkubau Health Centre will be able to cover basic healthcare needs for residents living in Mukim Gadong ‘A’, Gadong ‘B’, Kianggeh and Sungai Kedayan, reducing the burden on Pengiran Anak Puteri Hajah Muta-Wakillah Hayatul Bolkiah Health Centre in Rimba.

“With the new Bandar Seri Begawan Health Centre, the ratio of doctors to the population for the catchment area will be improved from 1:8,592 to 1:4,353 for Pengiran Anak Puteri Hajah Muta-Wakillah Hayatul Bolkiah Health Centre in Rimba.

“The ratio for the new health centre will be expected at 1:4,044.”

The minister also said there are plans to promote “mental health and well-being according to the World Mental Health Day 2023 theme ‘Mental health is a universal human right’, which started on October 10 with the launch of a mental health roadshow and symposium on ‘Mental Health at Workplace is a universal human right’, which will be extended to other ministries to raise awareness among on the importance of mental health and well-being”.

To increase mental health literacy in the Sultanate, the Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society will hold psychological first aid training for the first time, which is “an evidence-based approach based on the concept of human empowerment and resilience”.

“The MoH has also signed an agreement on ‘Friends of Health Promotion Centre’ between the ministry with five non-governmental organisations – the Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society, the Brunei Youth Council, Big BWN Project, Cope For Hope and The Blue Raincoat Collective to empower a whole-of-nation approach to foster cooperation and open opportunities to increase awareness and transform attitudes of the public on the importance of mental health,” he said.

Prior to the Muzakarah session, LegCo members visited the Child Development Centre and the Department of Psychiatric services in Kiarong. – James Kon

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